11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Roman history comes alive!,
This review is from: Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic (Hardcover)
If you sweated over Caesar’s Gallic Wars or Cicero’s speeches at school put aside your prejudice and try Rubicon. You will meet living, breathing characters whose behaviour emphasises that nothing changes in the confrontation between humanity’s addiction to power and belief in democratic idealism. Their story is told in a vivid short-sentenced narrative, as elegant as the folds in a Roman toga and personalities and events are imaginatively and plausibly fleshed out from 2,000 year-old sources. My reaction was ‘Yes, it must have been like this’ whether in the great set-pieces like Caesar’s murder or lesser known events like Sulla’s brutal treatment of prisoners and Cato’s bleak and harrowing suicide. Wit and irony jostle with tragedy, whether in the description of Cleopatra’s chequered love-life, or Pompey’s propensity to blushing and his pop-star-like cultivation of his quiff of hair. Indeed after reading this book I felt like answering Shakespeare’s ‘Knew you not Pompey?’ with ‘Yes I did – I’ve just read Tom Holland’s book’.